Industry News

Mortgage Fraudsters Continue to Pay

Mortgage fraudsters continue to pay as can be seen in yet another federal trial. The FDIC and CFPB are hard at work with the DOJ and a host of others continuing to clean up the mortgage debacle from the 2008 Crash. I hope that the severe penalties and continuing cleanup will make other fraudsters think twice. It seems you can’t regulate ethics, but perhaps punishment will suffice.

After an 11-day trial, a jury found a husband and wife guilty of conspiracy and bank fraud that totaled $49.6 million.
Domenico “Dom” and Mae Rabuffo were convicted of participating in an elaborate scheme to defraud banks of tens of millions of dollars in connection with a development known as Hampton Springs in Glenville’s Big Ridge community. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between 2003 and 2008.
Dom Rabuffo, 77, of Miami, and Mae Rabuffo, 75, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Williston Park, N.Y., were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Dom Rabuffo was charged with multiple counts of bank fraud.
Sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore is expected to take place Sept. 25. They each face a maximum of 30 years in prison for each count.
read more at the Sylva Herald

New Online Title and Closing Education – a Work in Progress

Award, Achievement, CDEII am pleased to announce that I have just passed the Certified Distance Education Instructor (CDEI) certification! As many of you know, I have been teaching title the traditional classroom way with a passion for many years – title examination, closing, legal descriptions, changes in real estate law, title abstracting and searching. I am a title geek who is now moving to Online Title  Education both for Professional Education and for Pre-license Closer Education.

Going into new online training will be a challenge for me  that I take seriously and look forward to.

I will work hard with you to make online real estate  title education

  • interesting
  • beneficial and
  • responsive to your needs.

I hope many new and former students will become members of my online real estate “family.”  I often get emails from you, and will try to incorporate those into the online classroom along with your questions. Thanks for your support!

Jeanne

Online Land Title Classes Now Available

With a great deal of effort, I am proud to announce arrival of new online courses for the title industry. My first few are now available and I will have a number of others in the near future.

As you know, I specialize in teaching title insurance, title abstracting, title examination, legal descriptions and all things “geek” in the title world.  I love land titles. I love the history. I love the mystery of finding the ownership and all the title issues. Insuring title, closing title, etc. Every title is different and I love it all from the search through the closing.

Try them out and look for more Classes to come online soon.

Best Regards,  Jeanne

CFPB Issues Report on “Pain Points” at Closing

There were few surprises in the Report Issued by the CFPB  from those who elected to respond to the “Request for Information” about closings.  It’s too complicated, and becoming more complicated by the day.

The 69 page report reviewed information it received from its recent  public Survey-about the challenges consumers face when closing on a home. The Bureau identified several “pain points” consumers regularly experience during the closing process. Consumers reported being frustrated by (among other things)

  • The short amount of time to review a large number of closing documents
  •  Not understanding the documents and the legalese terms;
  • The lack of resources providing explanations about closing documents, which are full of technical jargon; and
  • Errors in the quantity of paperwork resulting in long delays.

Our legislators, while hoping to make things clearer for the consumer, continue to make the process more complicated. In my opinion, the average consumer does NOT want to know the maximum amount they could pay for a loan, including principle and interest, points and expenses if they keep the loan for thirty years as disclosed on a TIL.  How many people keep the same house for thirty years with the same mortgage? But that is a requirement under the TIL law.

In CFPB’s defense, it oversees just a small piece of the process and has been mandated to combine the HUD-1 and TIL – a difficult undertaking. And it has  made excellent strides in asking the stakeholders for advice.  Lenders, states, counties, title companies, attorneys and others all impact the process and have input that the CFPB is considering and taking seriously.  I hope that the results will be as good as the process involved.

Just a thought for e-closings – Why not make the detailed  information available to those who wish to review such information without requiring that all the information be covered.  It’s overwhelming to read 100 pages and if the consumer knows that a FNMA mortgage is a standard form for the state and CANNOT be modified, there should be some comfort in that.

But right now, it’s too much noise- like the mail I get from the bank almost daily.  Every mailing includes multiple pages of disclaimers from the bank. There is so much “noise” in all the mail, that we miss the point. Who reads all that jargon.  I think the average consumer wants to know the monthly outgo – i.e. what is the total monthly PITI?  After that, the mortgage Note and mortgage deed, and title deed need to be explained. But to spend an hour going over a hundred pages of disclosures is just too much – both for the closer and the consumer. I love the idea of the consumer being able to read the documents online and choose the level of understanding, with an explanation to clarify the point of each document BEFORE the table closing.

E-closing would make all our jobs easier and the consumer much more comfortable with the process.  What do you think?

 

The Future of E-Closing

A great article about the CFPB’s thoughts on the future of E-Closing at Lexology.  See it here 

ALTA Comments on CFPB Report on Consumer Experiences at Closing

Press Release

Our members strongly support efforts to identify and alleviate the pain points consumers have experienced during the home closing process,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “While we are focused on technology and the ability for us to receive, sign and return, and retain electronic documents, we cannot lose sight of the importance of personal interaction during the closing process. At the end of the day, consumers are not buying a home from a computer.”The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title industry, released the following statement today from CEO Michelle Korsmo in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s report on consumer experience during the mortgage closing process:

“Improving the closing the process through technology by providing electronic documents to the homebuyer will help give the consumer more to time to digest the information about their purchase prior to the closing. We agree with the CFPB that any implementation of new technology in the home closing process should not reduce opportunities for consumers to ask information or replace the ceremony of the closing process which indicates the importance of the transaction. Based on our members’ unique vantage point working with all the parties at the closing table, the Bureau should not only focus on technological innovations but also on improving consumer education about the closing process. The new integrated mortgage disclosure forms that the CFPB developed and will be implemented in August 2015 will help ensure the personal interaction and explanation remains part of the closing experience for consumers.”

“We look forward to continuing to work on this important initiative with Director Cordray and staff at the CFPB on this important consumer initiative.”

2014 to be a Strong Year for Housing says NAHB

Paul Salfen at DSNews reports that:

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) delivered some good news Monday: 59 of the 350 metro markets have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity. In the NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), the national average is running at 88 percent, with 11 metros gained year-over-year.

With the spring buying season in the housing market right around the corner and stronger employment numbers reported, confidence is gaining that economic recovery is right around the corner. Analysts and home builders alike agree that that this looks to be a very strong year for housing. A steady release of pent up demand from buyers seems imminent, so there is light at the end of the tunnel—and it’s not a train.

“I think the big news here is that regions outside of the energy states continue to gain ground,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “It’s a promising sign to see areas like Los Angeles and San Jose joining the top ten largest MSAs [metropolitan statistical areas] showing a recovery. We still expect 2014 to be a strong year for housing and to aid in the overall economic recovery. The job market continues to mend and with that we will see a steady release of pent up demand of buyers.”

Read the full article here.

FHA Loans Continue to Play Important Role for Consumers

RIS Media has some good information on those very common  FHA loans that many don’t understand. They point out a number of  facts that make the FHA Loan product so appealing and popular, including:

  • Those with imperfect credit can still qualify for an FHA Loan
  • Sellers, builders and lenders can legally pay some of the closing costs to induce the buyers to purchase
  • Extra cash is available under the 203B program  for those homes needing repairs
  • Although FHA  requires a 2.25% fee upfront towards mortgage insurance along with ongoing FHA premiums,  the low down payment makes an FHA loan very attractive for those without a large down payment

Read the whole article here 

FNMA Says Most Consumers Now Believe they can Qualify for a Mortgage

WASHINGTON – Feb. 12, 2014 – More Americans now believe it would be easy for them to get a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2014 National Housing Survey results.  A FNMA  National Housing Survey polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts.

Positive consumer attitudes regarding the ease of a mortgage application climbed 2 percentage points to an all-time survey high of 52 percent, while those who think it would be difficult dropped 3 points to 45 percent – an indication that consumers view mortgage credit as more accessible.

While Freddie Mac still predicts more moderate home price gains over the next 12 months, consumers’ view that mortgage credit is more available may allow for continued but measured improvement in the housing recovery.

Consumer attitudes about the economy also improved in January despite downbeat jobs data for the past two months. The share of consumers who believe the economy is on the right track climbed 8 percentage points to 39 percent, while the share who believe it’s on the wrong track declined to 54 percent. Additionally, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year increased to 44 percent, continuing an upward trend since November 2013.

“For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50-percent mark, exceeding those who said it would be difficult by 7 percentage points,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month’s increase in consumers’ intention to buy rather than rent their next home,” he adds. “The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy.”

Survey highlights

Homeownership and renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation decreased from last month to 2.0 percent.
  • The share of people who say home prices will stay the same in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 45 percent, while the share who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by 6 percentage points to 43 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 2 percentage points to 55 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house decreased from last month, down 2 percentage points to 65 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 5 percentage points from last month to 38 percent.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased from last month to 2.8 percent, tying the all-time survey low.
  • Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a decrease of 5 percentage points from last month.
  • The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move hit an all-time survey high of 70 percent, and those who say they would rent is at an all-time low of 26 percent.

Title Insurer Held Liable for Title Agent’s Actions

Insurance Journal (05/03/10)

Thurston County (Wash.) Superior Court Judge Paula Casey has ruled that the state insurance commissioner may hold an insurance company liable for the actions of the company’s appointed agent. “If you allow someone to do business on your behalf, it only stands to reason that you can be held responsible for what they do,” said Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. In an April 23 order, Superior Court Judge Paula Casey ruled that Chicago Title Insurance Co. could be held responsible for illegal inducements offered to solicit title insurance business by one of its appointed agents, Land Title Co. of Kitsap County Inc.   Read full article at Insurance Journal

Info On Home Closing

Home Closing 101: An Educational Initiative of the American Land Title Association